Key Global Events to Watch in June

At the start of every month, the Global Observatory posts a list of key upcoming meetings and events that have implications for global affairs.

JUNE 1-3: Shangri-La Dialogue, Singapore 

Asia’s premier security summit, the Shangri-La Dialogue, is being held in Singapore from June 1-3. The meeting brings senior defense officials from all over the world together to discuss regional defense issues. Along with the progress being made in negotiations between North and South Korea, other pressing issues on the agenda include China’s efforts to further consolidate its territorial claims in the South China Sea. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is delivering the gathering’s keynote speech today and is expected to outline his country’s expanding security role in the Indo-Pacific to balance China’s presence.

JUNE 4-5: 48th General Assembly of the Organization of American States, Washington, D.C.

The Organization of American States (OAS) will hold its 48th General Assembly at the headquarters of the organization in Washington, D.C. from June 4-5. Of the agenda topics for discussion requested by delegations, 12 countries together called for the inclusion of the situation of Venezuela. Following the devastating natural disasters that hit the Caribbean in the last year, the Dominican Republic requested that the role of the OAS in responding to natural disasters in the hemisphere also be included.

JUNE 4-8: Annual Meeting of Human Rights Council Special Procedures, Geneva

The 25th Annual Meeting of Special Procedures will take place between June 4-8 in Geneva. The meeting convenes the special rapporteurs, special representatives, independent experts, and chairs of working groups appointed by the Human Rights Council. The aim of the meeting—strengthening the work of and coordination between the special procedures, in light of prevailing challenges to the human rights system—is particularly noteworthy this year, the last of High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Hussein, who announced his resignation in 2017 after expressing dismay at the current geopolitical context and raising questions as to the ability of the UN to champion human rights. 

JUNE 5-6: European Development Days 2018, Brussels

In its 12th year, the European Development Days (EDD) will take place in Brussels on June 5 and 6. The overarching title for this year’s forum is “Women and Girls at the Forefront of Sustainable development: protect, empower, invest.” The forum, which bills itself as the “leading forum on international cooperation and development,” will bring together women’s rights leaders, heads of state, business leaders, policymakers, and others. Over the course of its twelve years, the EDD has worked to become the “Davos of development.”

JUNE 7: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Visiting Washington

Following meetings between top American and North Korean officials, and amid the back and forth surrounding the possible summit between the two countries, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is scheduled to meet US President Donald Trump in Washington, D.C. on June 7. The two leaders affirmed that they would meet ahead of the planned summit to discuss their shared goal of “complete and permanent dismantlement of North Korea’s nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and ballistic missile programs.” Japan has been active in ensuring that the US does not make a deal with North Korea that leaves them vulnerable.

JUNE 9-10: Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Qingdao

The cooperative multilateral Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will hold its summit in Qingdao, China on June 9 and 10. The summit will be chaired by Chinese President Xi Jinping. Following the 2017 summit in Astana, the SCO expanded to include eight member states: India, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Although ostensibly aimed at strengthening economic, political, and security ties between member countries, the SCO’s two largest founding members, China and Russia, differ in their views on its exact purpose and scope. As a result, from its very first months, the organization has mostly reacted to, as opposed to driven, regional events and geopolitical developments.

JUNE 12: US and North Korea Summit

After the anticipated summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un was called last week, meetings held in New York between top officials from both countries aim to salvage the talks. Kim Jong-un expressed a belief that the holding of the meeting would “put an end to the history of war” between North and South Korea. He also reiterated his commitment to “complete” denuclearization to South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Should the summit continue as originally planned, it will be held on June 12 in Singapore.

JUNE 17: Runoff Election for President in Colombia  

Colombia is headed for its most divisive presidential race in decades after right-winger Ivan Duque won the first-round vote on May 24, triggering a runoff with leftist Gustavo Petro. Duque, a 41-year-old former official of the Washington-based InterAmerican Development Bank, was the convincing winner of the ballot with 39 percent of votes, ahead of Petro, an outspoken ex-mayor of Bogota, with 25 percent. However, Duque’s pledge to overhaul the 2016 peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) by scrapping immunity for those convicted of crimes has alarmed many Colombians. The runoff will be held on June 17.

JUNE 24: Early Elections in Turkey

Last month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced snap parliamentary and presidential elections to be held on June 24, more than one year earlier than originally scheduled.  The polls will be the first since a referendum last year that transformed Turkey’s parliamentary democracy into a powerful executive presidency and will hand the president sweeping new powers after the elections. The main opposition candidate, Muharrem Ince, of Republican People’s Party (CHP), said a “media embargo” had been placed on opposition parties upon Erdogan’s request. Rallies by the CHP, pro-Kurdish Peoples Democratic Party (HDP), and the fledgling Iyi (Good) Party, led by former interior minister Meral Aksener, are rarely shown by the main broadcasters.

JUNE 25-26: Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank Annual Meeting, Mumbai

The Beijing-headquartered Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) will be holding its annual meeting in Mumbai on June 25 and 26, under the theme of “Mobilizing Finance for Infrastructure: Innovation and Collaboration.” This year will also see the launch of the inaugural Asian Infrastructure Forum, which will focus on matching finance to critical infrastructure needs. Despite mistrust towards the AIIB due to its perceived relationship with the Chinese government and rivalry with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the ADB has sought closer ties with the AIIB and the two banks have jointly provided loans of over $700 million for four infrastructure projects.

JUNE 28: European Council Summit, Brussels

European Union heads of state and government will gather in Brussels on June 28 for the European Council. Leaders will discuss the most pressing issues facing the EU—including migration, security, and economic issues—as well as Brexit. Ongoing Brexit negotiations between the United Kingdom and Ireland on how to reconcile issues related to Northern Ireland have faced roadblocks and could run out of time. UK Prime Minister Theresa May is pushing forward to settle domestic squabbles on Brexit strategy, amid widespread sentiment that the situation is a “shambles.”

JUNE TBD: Second Syrian National Dialogue Congress, Sochi

The second Syrian National Dialogue Congress may be held in Sochi next month, according to diplomatic sources. The first congress was held on January 30, and its participants adopted a 12-point statement, in which the Syrian government offered its view of the country’s future and asserted its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and view that only Syrian citizens could decide the future of the country through elections. The meetings are convened by Turkey, Russia, and Iran.